What should I do?

<p>I got into CIT and have always wanted to go to this school. I'd also be playing football if I go. The only problem is I come from a low-income family (My EFC on my FASFA was $1500) and all the aid I'm getting amounts to $34,000. This means I would have to take out about $20,000 in private loans. It's either this or be stuck going to a local college that I desperately do not want to go to. My question is what should I do?</p>

<p>work in college, lazyface</p>

<p>thats part of going to college. i think a cmu degree is worth it. people have had to pay off a lot more debt than that. but its up to you.</p>

<p>is that 20000 a year? or over the four years?</p>

<p>It's 20,000 a year so it would be close to 80,000 after 4 years</p>

<p>It's a significant amount of money to borrow, but it's not extreme. I am borrowing a similar amount (75k total) and I pay it off during the summers and while working at school. Here's my two pence of advice, being the daughter of a woman who does FAFSA accounting for a living:</p>

<p>If I were you I would look into taking out all the subsidized loans you can, such as the Stafford and Perkins loans. (This means the Government will pay the loan interest until after you graduate, which essentially means zero-interest!) </p>

<p>You haven't said what your family income is. If it is under 60k, you qualify for a Pell Grant, which is something in the range of $4000 a year for free just for being a low income family. That cuts your owed money from 20k to 16k, which is a HUGE difference in terms of insurance.</p>

<p>Once you have maxed out your subsidized loans, go for some unsubsidized ones. You can check out the PLUS loan and perhaps private loans from your bank - these are loans that will generally cover everything else you need to pay, but they come with an interest rate. Generally they are deferred until after you graduate so you don't need to start paying until then. </p>

<p>Lastly, as a senior and incoming freshman to college, you are in the BEST place to earn scholarships. Don't bother with crappy sites like Fastweb.com - they tend to get 10,000 apps or more per scholarship. Look locally; my city council was giving out a few thousand-dollar scholarships, and I won four of them, for example. Check out local museums, libraries, groundwater associations, and your state gov website.</p>

<p>EDIT: Also, I don't know this to be fact, but I think CMU will bump up a crappy finaid offer after your freshman year if your grades were good. I got a 3.6 GPA this year and CMU awarded me twice the grant money I got last year, and my financial situation hasn't changed at all.</p>

<p>You said you have about $34,000 in aid, and will need $20,000 in loans. I just want to point out that CMU should NOT cost $54,000 a year.</p>

<p>A lot of that cost is what they assume will be expenses (like laptops, books, etc.), but you won't need to pay that much at all (so that knocks out ~$6000 or so already).</p>

<p>Also, get the cheapest meal plan (you'll be well fed at Schatz no matter what). You can get off the meal plan after frosh year; getting a campus job will mean you are spending $0 for food for the rest of the years.</p>

<p>I'd say you'll have to pay around $10,000 a year (which will mostly be for boarding), but you could even get an off-campus apartment for much less. Also, engineering internships PAY.</p>

<p>Going into CIT, you should analyze this problem as an engineer. Look at the facts. Get efficient.</p>

<p>I think wildwildwes is a hair optimistic. Tuition,room and fees adds up to about 48K. 2K a year for books, misc. stuff and transportation is pretty cheap. Cheap food could be down to about 2K. So, that's a minimum of more like $52.
Let's assume a bit of income.. Maybe you come out owing 'only' 60K.
Using the CB calculator, that's about $670/month for TEN YEARS.
That amount of debt would be okay, although nearly the limit for an annual income of $60,000.</p>

<p>My parents income is 42,000 so my FinAid includes pell grants and the like. I just saw that the finacial aid gets worse each subsequent year. So that just makes me worry about what my debt would be at the end of 4 years.</p>

<p>EDIT:Let me rephrase the aid, it's 17,000 from CMU and about 8,000 in grants. 10,000 more in student loans. The 20,000 is a private loan. So in actuality I would be taking out about 30,000 in loans a year</p>

<p>You are right to worry, Odeh. 30,000*4 = 120,000. This comes out to roughly $1,600/month for TEN years. Normally, college loan debt should be no more than 10 to 15% of your income. If you start with an income of 60,000, which is pretty darn good, your loans would eat up 28% of your income. Your initial monthly salary would be about $5,500. Taxes would reduce that to about $3,800. Pay your loan, and you are down to $2,250/month. Take a look at apartments in Pittsburgh and car loans - figure out what you would have left.</p>